Sun. Jul 21st, 2019

Bheki Cele has the private security industry in his sights

Private security industryHis draft amendments would limit what the private security industry could use as uniforms and who can use firearms while on duty.

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Minister of Police Bheki Cele has submitted two draft amendments to the Private Security Industry Regulation Act that would affect the guns they can use and the uniforms they can wear.

Private security industry guns and uniforms

The first of the two proposals submitted by Cele at the end of May would prevent security companies from having uniforms that resemble those from the South African Police Service (SAPS), South African National Defense Force, or South African Correctional Services.

The second addresses the types of firearms they are allowed to carry and which private security personnel are allowed to carry firearms in the line of duty.

Speaking at a press conference deputy director for law enforcement at the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), advocate Linda Mbana revealed some pretty shocking statistics about the size of the private security industry.

“The private security industry in South Africa is bigger than SAPS and SANDF combined. As of April, we have 8851 registered companies with over 500 000 individual private security officers,” she said.

As of 2018, the SAPS reported it has just over 150 000 officers on its books. A report on DefenceWeb claims the SANDF’s strength is 73 844 troops with 219 generals and admirals.

So there are more than two private security officers for every police officer and army trooper in this country.

Taxi security concerns

The next step is to get comment from the public and private security companies on the draft amendments to see if and where changes need to be made.

At this early stage, it is already apparent the limitation on who can be issued a gun is a contentious issue.

Under the current draft proposal handguns and shotguns may only be issued to security officers involved in:

  • Armed response
  • Protection of valuables
  • Private investigation
  • Environmental protection/anti-poaching
  • Security at national key points

Private security personnel who work in the taxi industry have already raised concerns. They believe they work in one of the most dangerous fields but would not be allowed to carry firearms if these amendments are passed without changes.

Submissions with regards to the two draft amendments can be made to PSIRA until 12 July 2019.

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